Want to challenge yourself or learn something new? Check out these design challenges to improve your craft.
Design challenges are pretty self-explanatory—they’re challenges in the design sphere. You may not have heard of them before, but there is an abundance of them.
Typically, design challenges will be routinely-set tasks and often, but not always, based on a particular topic. Some are daily challenges for a set time, often a month. You may find weekly, monthly, or yearly challenges. And sometimes, the challenges are once-off and can be done completely on your own time.
Why Should You Take Part in Design Challenges?
The primary reason to take part in design challenges is to get better at your craft. But there can be plenty of other benefits too. Since many design challenges aren’t limited to a specific type of media, it gives you the opportunity to experiment with new techniques, tools, and other elements that you may not usually attempt for more serious work.
With Procreate taking over the illustration hemisphere, it even allows you to go digital with some typically traditional challenges. This gets you out of old comfort zones quickly, expanding your creative abilities.
Design challenges don’t always have to be about trying something new or pushing yourself out of your comfort zone—they are equally great for practicing something you’re already good at. After a one-month design challenge, you should have around 30 new pieces to add to your portfolio. So make a new creative habit and add a challenge to your weekly calendar.
Let’s discuss some of the best places where you can start partaking in design challenges.
1. Canva Weekly Design Challenge
Canva’s design studio is great for creating designs for social media, posters, presentations, and more. But they also offer a weekly design challenge to expand your work into new realms.
Head to Canva’s homepage, find the Learn and play section, and click Weekly challenge. This takes you to the design challenge’s page, a pre-designed canvas. Since it’s a weekly challenge, this canvas changes every Wednesday with something new.
The challenge could be anything from designing an egg hunt for Easter or using a banana as a design element. All challenges should be completed using only Canva; other than that, the rules are minimal.
Is there a prize? Yes. While most design challenges offer the prize of self-satisfaction, Canva offers a real prize too. A handful of entrants will have their designs featured on Canva’s Instagram feed, and one weekly winner will receive a one-year subscription to Canva Pro for free as well as a $50 Canva Print voucher.
Once your design is complete, it’s easy to enter. Just upload your final design to Instagram with the hashtag #Canvadesignchallenge to be considered.
2. Adobe XD Creative Challenge
Behance is the portfolio website provided by Adobe for creators to showcase their work. Behance has a lot to offer, but it is also the hosting place of the Adobe XD Creative Challenge. These are challenges in UX/UI design using Adobe XD.
Once signed up or logged in using your Adobe credentials, you’ll receive a daily challenge for five days via a Creative Cloud notification. To join the community conversation, speak with other creators, or share feedback, you’ll need to sign up for Discord.
Each week brings a new set of five challenges, plus a livestream video for each challenge to help you understand it and ask questions. It’s a great idea to get some web design inspiration before starting UX/UI projects. You can submit your challenge attempt through Discord to receive feedback or upload your final design to your Behance portfolio to share your work.
Unlike the Canva Design Challenge, the Adobe XD Creative Challenge doesn’t offer a prize. Its purpose is to push your UX/UI design skills and to add thought-out designs to your portfolio. You’ll up your skillset with things like modern website designs, loading animations, or a mobile ordering app.
Briefbox offers design and illustration prompts that you can download and create in your own time. This is less of an institutionalized challenge and instead provides individual prompts to inspire you or give you confidence in your portfolio.
Briefbox design prompts are encouraged for new graduates who need to build up their portfolios, but anyone can take part in these design ideas. There’s also no reason you must keep the ideas digital or follow the prompts down to the letter. They’re for inspiration.
Some of Briefbox’s prompts are only available at premium prices; however, to increase your skills and confidence, the price is well worthwhile.
4. 36 Days of Type
36 Days of Type is a longstanding creative challenge that many artists, illustrators, and designers partake in. 36DoT is a yearly challenge that runs for—you’ve guessed it—36 days. One day for each letter of the Latin alphabet, plus an extra 10 days for digits 0-9. The calendar does change each year, so the submission dates do not stay the same.
Submission happens via an Instagram post with two hashtags: one for the project (#36Daysoftype) and one for the day’s submission letter or number as per the calendar. Submissions can be in any medium, including video, and should ideally be 1080×1080 to fit the Instagram square size.
While it is not a formal competition, and many designers simply partake for themselves, 36DoT do publish their chosen best to the 36DoT Instagram feed and other project accounts. It is a great challenge for getting your name shared among other creatives. And you can even turn your handmade typeface into a font when the 36 days are complete.
Similar to 36 Days of Type, Inktober is another yearly challenge with a clue in the name. Inktober originated as a daily prompt to create an inked drawing throughout the month of October. Each daily one-word prompt could be something like “Spark”, “Fuzzy”, “Pressure”, or “Pick”.
While its premise stays the same, which is to encourage illustration, its medium has changed along with the times. Now, many artists, illustrators, and designers utilize digital mediums as much as traditional techniques to create their Inktober submissions.
This challenge focuses on improvement and sharing art. There is no prize and no official body. Although the proper Inktober challenge is to complete the 31 prompts for 31 days of October, there is nothing stopping you from doing it just once every other day or even once a week, as long as it helps you build a creative habit and improve your craft.
Expand Your Skills With Design Challenges
While we haven’t provided an extensive list of all the creative challenges available, these five are some of the most popular and easily accessible. With each challenge, you’ll practice and learn new skills. It’s worth trying every one at least once, especially if you’re in a creative rut or a little out of practice.
A creative challenge is a great way to stay in the right headspace, and you can also pair it with wellbeing challenges to keep yourself on track.
If you are interested in original article by Ruby Heyler, you can find it here